When it comes to getting stronger and building muscle, there are so many exercises for you to choose from which can get confusing.
With barbells, dumbbells, bodyweight, cables, machines, and bands, there is no limit to the number of variations you can use to build a better body.
Personally, I like to keep things simple and stick to the basics.
The basics are proven to work, they’re efficient, and it makes training much more straightforward.
Here are the 4 exercises I recommend to build full body strength quicker than ever.
1. The Chin Up
One of the best exercises is the chin up. You’ll build your upper back, rear delts, biceps, forearms, and even the long head of your triceps with this one move.
Working your way up from assisted and negative chin ups to bodyweight will make solid improvements to your strength and back muscles. Then you can get a chain belt and add even more weight to make it harder.
Over time, I’ve build my way up to adding 55lbs to my 187lbs bodyweight and doing 5 full range of motion chin ups. My back has never been bigger or stronger.
2. The Deadlift
If you’re looking to develop a strong body, deadlifts are your best friend. A lot of people are afraid of them causing back pain, but with proper technique you will strengthen those muscles.
When you work the deadlift correctly, you’ll build your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and many stabilizer muscles you didn’t even know you had. This exercise might not build those ‘beach muscles’ but it sure as hell builds raw strength.
I’ve build most of my deadlift strength by following the Stronglifts 5×5 program, and more recently some reverse pyramid training. Both are great for building this exercise.
3. The Bench Press
Everyone wants to know how much you bench, and for good reason. The bench press is an excellent exercise for building the chest, shoulders, and triceps. The only problem is that most people do it wrong and get injured.
The most important thing is to retract the scapula and stay tight. Watch this video below for a great demonstration on proper bench press technique
For me, I’ve been able to develop my strength from barely benching 65lbs for a single rep in high school (I was skinny and weak lol), all the way to 225lbs for 4 reps recently. The key to strength is slowly adding weight in the 5-8 rep range and retaining great form.
4. The Squat
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t grown bigger legs and glutes from getting better and stronger at squats. I think barbell back squats with a high bar position and no belt are the best way to go to when learning.
The goal with this exercise is to squat down and have your hips go below your knee joint. You should have your spine be neutral, feet planted flat on the ground, and your upper back tight the entire time.
As with the other 3 lifts, the best way to get stronger is slowly adding weight over time and keeping technique on point. Practice is key on this lift, so doing 2-3 squat sessions per week is ideal if possible.
Technique Is Everything
One thing I’ve said continuously is that you must have good technique if you’re looking to get stronger and build quality muscle. The more you practice, the better your technique will be.
Following a structured program like Stronglifts 5×5, Starting Strength, Wendler 5/3/1, or any Kinobody program will help you get the practice you need to improve your form and build strength consistently.
Are these the only exercises I recommend?
No, but they are an excellent starting point. Hanging knee raises, hyperextensions, calf raises, shoulder press, and horizontal rows are also great exercises which I can get into in future articles.
I also recommend recording your sets on video to really get an outside perspective on what your lifts are looking like. It’s much easier to improve if you can actually see what is going on.
That’s all for today. If you have any questions, let me know. And if you’re looking for a detailed guide to help you get stronger and leaner without living in the gym, go here: